Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Been going through the re-eval process for Rojo's IEP with Portland Public Schools. Oh, my hell of God. I prepared myself for the first meeting, I knew it would be more of a formality than anything, and it was. There was the school psych, the Special Ed. person, the OT, the Speech/Lang. person and two people from Rojo's parochial school. Everyone was smiling. Everyone was on time. Everyone was prepared. Everything was fine.

It was fine.

I've been at this for thirteen years now, and I know my way around. I even told STM he didn't have to come (he had a conflict), because I no longer need the moral support the way I used to. I could do this, nothing to it. Go in, shake some hands, sign a few papers, get the ball rolling, get out of there.

And that's pretty much exactly what happened. The whole thing was over in thirty minutes and before I had a chance to fully digest their first names, I was ushered out before the next tightly scheduled appointment began. To these people, these kind and hard working people, my son is just a name on a piece of paper. They don't serve him, they likely won't serve him, but they have to evaluate him (and I have the property tax bill to prove it).

The school psych looked through his nearly six inch file and started throwing out numbers and names of tests which meant nothing to me other than that there are a lot of them and the numbers sounded mighty low. "With scores like this," she said as though reporting on the weather outside, "he should really be evaluated for mental retardation."

"He's not mentally retarded," I piped in, face turning red, starting to sweat. "I don't care what the test scores are. I don't care about his so-called IQ, those tests are unreliable and we have documentation to support that. He will not be evaluated for mental retardation."

She began to argue with me, trying to explain how they just needed to cover all their bases.


Bases, my ass. She wants to check off that box because that box is cheaper than the Autism Spectrum Box.

So, today I had to go to our Behavioral/Developmental Pediatrician that we've been seeing for twelve years, and get him to sign his own damn box. A box he's been dancing around for a dozen years. The A-word. THE spectrum. We all knew it was there. We all have come to accept it at varying stages and varying degrees, and to varying success, but before today, it never was in writing.

Now it is.


Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

I am envisioning myself blog-slapping that school psych. How. Dare. She.

And yeah, the rattling off the names of all of their tests? I am sick to death of that. Every meeting they do that! Gah!

jess wilson said...

After Kendall's last yearly evaluation, we had a meeting with her neuropsych to go over the results. The first thing that I noticed was that on the dx line where it had always said 'autistic disorder' it now said 'pdd-nos'.

I asked him about it and he said that it was now the more appropriate dx. When I shrugged in response and moved onto my next question, he smirked at me. He said, 'most parents - right or wrong - tend to get pretty excited when that happens. They see it as a 'downgrade' if you will.

I didn't mean to be disrespectful, but before I could think about it, I heard myself say,"I really don't care what you call her. I'm still going to call her Kendall."

Rojo - box checked or not - will always be inimitably Rojo. Thank God.

Tabitha Bird said...

Oh the system hey. Never good enough. Yet the people who work it mostly care, like you said. I loathe these kind of meetings. As both a teacher and a parent it always felt to me like the 'child' was left out of the equation. Numbers, test scores, tests, more tests... but they didn't see the way the kid lit up when I read his fav picture book. They didn't see the rare a wonderful moment when he really looked at me. They didn't see... well... they just didn't see. My son is not on the spectrum. But one of my close friends has a little boy who is. She tells me about the tests and the people and the meetings... oh the meetings.

Hugs to your Carrie. Meetings suck... even if the people are hard working and care.

Hugs to your beautiful boy. You see him. That will mean a lot in years to come. You don't see numbers. You see him. Keep seeing him. I have seen how that matters :)

Oh and just because we mothers can never tire of hearing this... you are a great Mom :)

Jerri said...



More Love.

Ask Me Anything said...

OMHOG. Still doesn't seem real. No evaluation can encapsulate that boy.

fullsoulahead.com said...

There is so much here Carrie. You are an amazing mom.

Love. Just love.

Wanda said...

Good for you for standing up for Rojo and what you know. Good for your doctor for stepping up to the plate when it was time.

Damn those boxes. Damn that we need to check them off in order to get what we need.



And more Love.

Pie Maker said...

I am prepping for my own showdown with PPS in February. It's our first re-eval and I'm scared in this economy that the goal for the other side is "how can we do less, pay less and save money" not how can they help my child. Thank you for sharing this, it helps me see what lies ahead.

Robin said...

Carrie, there is no other way to say it - Those meetings suck!! Those test suck!

I thought they would get better too, but I was wrong. It is different, but not better.

BTW you can insist on more time and a longer meeting if you (a member of the team) deem it necessary.

Chloe's Mommy said...

Rojo is a lucky kid. God bless you for seeing him and not just that piece of paper.

drama mama said...


Welcome to the club.

We have some esteemed members.

You reminded me of those meetings, where yes, our kids are just names on a piece of paper, a box to check.

Thank God our kids have parents who are in their corner, and legions of blog fans cheering them on, and who indeed, know who they are.

pixiemama said...

Off to light my Mary for you, Rojo, Woohoo and STM.


Deb Shucka said...

Oh, Carrie. I'm sorry.

Lola said...

Carrie-you are the best parent, mommy, advocate and I am guessing, ass kicker when needed! You go girl! They don't know Rojo at all. At the end of the day, he, like so many other kids, are just numbers and boxes to tick. But we know better, these children are precious, they are our tomorrow, our hope, our optimism and our love God damn it! ( a little rojo in there:)

Amber said...

Oh no she didn't think she was going to get away with that? Not with YOU as the momma bear. Good for you Carrie. That is such crap!!

But I am so sorry you have to be the momma bear for him, like that. How we as a society deal by trying NOT to deal, by doing the least costly thing, is cutting off our own nose. And not fair to our kids. Terrible.


Suzy said...


Elizabeth said...

I'll give her a blog-slap as well.

I'm feeling particularly disillusioned right now with just about everything and think I might go, right now, and order that 365 days of prayers book that you've described...

kario said...

Hate the boxes. Hate the hoops everyone has to jump through to get "funding." I wish we could just provide help where it is necessary and let it cost however much it costs, dammit!

Love you. Proud of you.

Marge said...

I am sorry Carrie. I am glad he has you for his advocate.